Oh boy. Make a cup of tea, because I have so much to share! Reading slump: OVER. This is what happens when I go on vacation and am only responsible for keeping myself busy. Leading up to this trip, I carefully made a list of the books that I wanted to read and dreamed about them for weeks. When my body entered the Boston airport, it was like I was flying instead of the airplane! Fabulous.
Let’s just focus on what I’ve finished lately:
A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin: This book has been several years in the making. I started the series in 2012 and flew through the first three books. When I got to this one, it was an immediate stop. Westeros overload. But when this season of GoT started on HBO, I decided that I had to start reading the series again (more about that in a later post). Martin is so smart in the way that he structures his books – the first 2/3 consists of long chapters that set a strong foundation for what’s coming. The last 1/3 has short, quick chapters that make the story feel much more fast-paced and action packed. When I got to that point, I just could.not.stop.reading.
This part of the story focuses mainly on Brienne, Sansa (Alayne), Arya, Sam, Jaime, and Cersei, among a few others. When I read this, I kept asking myself why do I keep reading these?? They are so full of heartbreak and misery – but I think that’s exactly why I keep trudging through the series: I just want to know what happens! It’s hard to say much more because the suspense of the stories is what makes these books addictive. If you started the series but haven’t finished – I would urge you not to give up! Get to the books when you can devote the time and energy, but don’t force it. While heartbreaking, it is certainly a good, sweeping story!
Still Life by Louise Penny: This the first book in the Inspector Gamache series. I kept hearing about this on different podcasts and decided to take the plunge into Three Pines, the small Canadian village that’s not on any map. I am so glad that I did. This is the perfect contemporary cozy mystery!
A well-loved retired teacher is found dead in the woods. It’s reportedly a hunting accident, but Inspector Gamache smells murder. This book dives right into eccentric personalities and small town secrets to uncover the truth.
This was laugh out loud funny in several places, nail biting near the end, and completely charming. If you’re looking for a fun mystery to take to the beach or to curl up by the fire with a cup of tea, grab this one!
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: This one has been talked about nearly everywhere and for good reason. Has anyone been able to put their finger on the reason why stories set in Europe during WWII are so fascinating? They are my absolute favorite!
This book starts in 2013 in the US. Who it starts with is a mystery – but we do know that she is an elderly woman moving into an assisted living facility and she is remembering life in France as the Nazis took over the country.
The flashbacks involve two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. These are two very different women that played important and secretive roles during the Nazi occupation. The author drew a beautiful and heartbreaking picture – I could picture myself in the garden with Vianne, trying to feed my family on the little food that I could grow. I was walking down the streets of Paris with Isabelle, dodging the Nazi officers and fighting for the people of France.
This was a tragic story – I was sobbing in several places – and while fiction, I can’t help believe that much of the tragedy actually happened to people during that time period. I hugged my babies a little closer and remembered not to take them for granted.
The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon: This is the third book I’ve read by McMahon and I love her. Her stories are creepy to the core, set in New England, and just good fun. I heard a clip of her talking about this one on a Books on the Nightstand Podcast and knew that I needed to read it asap. This was a blend of the movie Now and Then with Psycho – which makes my heart go pitter patter!
Much like Now and Then, this is set up as flashbacks to Piper, Margot, and Amy’s childhood. As young teenagers, the girls play at The Tower Motel, the motel that Amy’s grandfather built and was a roaring success while Amy’s mother and her Aunt Sylvie were children. But much like Psycho, after the highway was built, the guests stopped coming and the motel became rundown and unused. Aunt Sylvie dreamed of being a Hollywood starlet, and one day she just up and left, never to be heard from again.
While playing at the motel, the girls find a clue that makes them believe that Aunt Sylvie might not have made it to Hollywood and that Amy’s grandmother is hiding something. They spend the summer trying to uncover the mystery. Present day, Amy is accused of a terrible crime, which brings this group of friends back together and back into that mystery in order to prove Amy’s innocence. Keep the lights on for this one!
It’s been too long since I’ve been able to just sit and read with no interruptions. Who knows when that will happen again (probably in 18 years?), so I didn’t take the opportunity for granted! Cramming in time to read and write while my babies are small is an interesting challenge – especially when I want to read all of the books! My plan? Good coffee and little sleep! Sleep is overrated, right?